Natives-Tips and Tricks
Generally speaking, for natives to grow well they need excellent drainage and not overly rich or heavy soil. Many need some water in the first year or two after planting to get established, and then little to no supplemental summer water thereafter.
- Dig a hole 30% wider than the plant, and the same depth. Water the hole before planting. If you have gopher or mole problems, put a wire-mesh gopher basket in the hole.
- Lightly loosen the roots around the plant once it’s out of the pot. Gently pull coiled roots away from the sides, or matted roots from the bottom.
- Plant so that the soil surface of the potted plant is raised slightly above the surrounding ground level.
- Back-fill the holes with the native soil, without soil amendments or ‘bought’ soil; foot tamp the soil to insure soil contact with the roots. Water well.
- Do NOT fertilize newly planted natives.
- If you are not fenced, protect new plants with wire cages, for species that are not truly deer resistant.
- Mulch to about two inches with fine or shredded redwood bark--keep away from the plant crown. Rocks and stones can be mixed in for mulch as well.
- In the first year after planting, check the soil under the mulch (dig down a couple every week or two. If the soil is moist, do not water. If the soil is dry, water thoroughly with 3-5 gallons of water.
- In the second year and succeeding years: water extra from November to March if the plant area of origin has higher rainfall than yours. If very dry years, supplemental water should be applied from March through May. Other than that, discontinue watering. Add mulch periodically to maintain a depth of two inches (too much water can cause crown rot and death.)
- Now, there are always some exceptions: Coast Redwood, Scarlet Monkey Flower, and Leopard Lily are among some of the natives which are moisture-loving—care for them accordingly.
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